Canadian "Dream Team" To Tackle Deadly Brain Cancer

This article is reprinted with permission from the University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine. 

They are a ‘dream team’ comprised of some of the country’s top minds in cancer research.

They will harness their talent and technologies to find new treatments for the most common and deadly form of brain cancer among adults with an $8.2-million investment from the Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI), the Terry Fox Foundation (TFF), Alberta Innovates–Health Solutions, the Alberta Cancer Foundation, Genome Canada, Genome BC and the BC Cancer Foundation.

They are a ‘dream team’ comprised of some of the country’s top minds in The investment, one of the largest ever made in Canada to research glioblastoma, will give hope to the approximately 2,600 Canadians annually who face a grim future when they are diagnosed with the disease. With current treatment, survival is about 15 months.

“We are pleased to have so many funders supporting this great new team in its work to find new and effective treatments for this deadly disease,” says Dr. Victor Ling, TFRI’s president and scientific director. “This is very important and necessary research.”

TFRI and TFF are contributing nearly $3.1 million, with Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions (AIHS) providing $2 million, Alberta Cancer Foundation $1.9 million, and Genome Canada $612,000. Genome BC is contributing $306,000 and The BC Cancer Foundation $250,000.

The announcement took place Tuesday at the university’s Faculty of Medicine. Researchers there will lead the national initiative and receive $4.1 million to fuel their research.

For more than three decades, glioblastoma treatment has remained largely unchanged. The research team is focusing on developing new drugs. Currently there is no drug development pipeline that brings potentially useful new agents to the clinic for testing against glioblastoma. This team will help address that gap and projects the first of the new drugs discovered from this research will be ready for clinical trials in two to four years.

Dr. Gregory Cairncross, head of the department of clinical neurosciences at the University of Calgary and holder of the Alberta Cancer Foundation chair in brain tumor research, will lead the project.

“There is nothing more personal than your brain. Although we’ve made some progress in treating glioblastoma, it has not been dramatic,” says Dr. Cairncross, who is also a member of the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute and Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute.

“Our team integrates researchers and centres in Canada with different and complementary strengths and we’ve come together to focus on the illness itself. We don’t see any other way forward other than through research because there seems to be no way to prevent glioblastoma. We have a chance to make a difference and we are hopeful that we will.”

Main Image Credit: 
Photo by Bruce Perrault
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